Milwaukee Bucks: Robin Lopez’s hook shot is incredibly underrated

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 31: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 31: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Robin Lopez tends to get more credit for his defense than his offense with the Milwaukee Bucks, but his hook shot is very effective and underrated.

It’s no secret that Robin Lopez has had a positive impact since joining the Milwaukee Bucks last offseason. Since signing as a free agent, Lopez has filled a void in the Bucks’ rotation that had long been an issue for the team.

Before his twin brother Brook Lopez had signed in 2018, the Bucks had worked their way through something akin to a revolving door of big men. Finding a quality, reliable starting center had proven difficult enough for Milwaukee in recent years, let alone also having a top-caliber backup big man in reserve.

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It’s well explored territory at this point that RoLo has been so effective in Milwaukee in large part thanks to his ability to mirror the playing style of his twin in the Bucks’ defensive scheme. But it remains a little reductive to just view Lopez’s contributions through a defensive prism.

Robin has taken a notable stride forward while embracing the Bucks’ “Let it Fly” philosophy, increasing his volume of three-point attempts and his efficiency in making those shots to go along with it. On a career-high 1.6 three-point attempts per game, Lopez has knocked down 34.4 percent of his long-range efforts.

Beyond that obviously new wrinkle to Lopez’s offensive game in the 12th year of his career, there remains an equally important tool in his arsenal that is still as steady as it has been for a number of seasons.

That being Lopez’s beloved hook shot, something which is an increasingly dying art in the NBA, but one that Robin has undoubtedly mastered over the course of his career.

For the 2019-20 season, 102 of Lopez’s 273 field goal attempts have been a hook shot, with only jump shots being more prevalent in terms of his shot distribution. Even more notable on that front, though, is that Lopez has made a career-high 60.8 percent of those shots.

Lopez’s hook has been a topic of conversation for years around the NBA. During his time with the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony told Fred Kerber of the New York Post:

"“‘Can’t be blocked. Haven’t seen anybody block it yet,’ teammate Carmelo Anthony said of Lopez’s go-to shot.”"

As recently as last season, during Lopez’s time with the Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns center and former No. 1 overall pick DeAndre Ayton asked Robin to teach him to perfect the shot too, according to The Athletic’s Gina Mizell.

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Averaging 5.5 points in 14.4 minutes per game, Lopez is by no mean an offensive driving force for the Bucks. But the fact that he’s embraced the challenge of being a system fit on both ends, and is capable of hurting opponents in both departments, makes him incredibly valuable and the kind of player that’s not too easily found in terms of backup centers.